The idea for the panel-style layout of fabrics in my 'Embroideries' collection came about after coming across 18th century Court dresses at the V & A Museum.
'Court dress' was an exclusive and very ornate style of clothing worn by the aristocracy, the only people usually invited to attend at Court.
The splayed drapery of the overskirts was made of several panels of fabric embroidered with, amongst other things, exquisite, botanically accurate flowers including jasmine, honeysuckle, peonies, roses, anemones amd cornflowers.
At their most formal, the dresses were wide and flat in appearence, acheived by the use of oversized panniers, sometimes reaching five feet at their widest. Constructed of bent wands of willow or whalebone and covered in linen, panniers took on broader or narrower silhouettes. The most remarkable held out skirts like sandwich boards, often only just wider than the body in side view, but as expansive as possible when seen from the front and back. The advantage being to display as large an area as possible of lavish decoration. This however, meant that the ladies of the Court were forced to walk sideways through doorways!